I am often asked my opinion on the latest trends in the health and fitness world, and keto is no exception. When it comes to this increasingly popular diet, there are definitely principles around keto that I agree with and that I think have merit. For starters, getting people away from highly processed carbs and sugars can only be a good thing. However, keto is a very extreme approach and therefore isn’t suitable for everyone.
Firstly- what is it?
The keto diet is a high fat, extremely low carb approach to eating. When your diet is made up of mostly fats and very few carbs, your body can no longer produce glucose from carb sources so it resorts to using your stored fat instead. This can be really effective for quick weight loss which is why it has grown in popularity over the past year.
What do you eat?
A keto diet generally involves a diet with 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein and 5 percent carbs. Someone on keto can expect to be eating lots of meat, full-fat dairy, nuts, seeds and low-carb veggies. Grains, pasta, breads, most fruits, sugar, corn and root vegetables are therefore off the table.
How does this differ to my food philosophy?
My philosophy is no low carb not low carb and JERF (just eat real food). When we eat good quality carbs, good quality fats and good quality protein, all from real food sources, we can’t go wrong.
Pros of Keto
There are definitely some benefits of going keto, such as:
1. Quick weight loss- ketosis means your body is in fat burning mode so you might see results quickly.
2. Satiety- A high fat diet will have you feeling fuller and satisfied for longer. Protein and fats promote increased satiety.
3. You’re eating less sugar- The keto diet says no to simple carbs (like ones found in packaged foods, cereals, juices and treats) and therefore by going keto you are cutting these out of your diet.
Cons of Keto
You can be missing key nutrients: Keto friendly foods tend to be lower in fibre and plant based healthy nutrients. This can cause some people to miss out on essential gut healthy, satiating fibre.
It’s strict: To stay in ketosis you really do need to stick to the 70/25/5 rule at every meal. This restrictive approach can be really hard to maintain, especially when dining out.
It’s not a long term solution: Ketosis is technically a state of survival and if you remain in this state for too long, your metabolism can begin to slow down. Adopting a quick fix solution that isn’t sustainable for you in the long run can often cause you to gain all the weight back when you return to your normal routine.
At the end of the day, I don’t see keto as a sustainable approach. Extreme methods may get good results in the short term but they can have long-term health ramifications and most people find them very, very hard to stick to. Adopting a way of eating where you are satisfied, not restricting anything and not cutting out the things you love will have you happier and healthier for longer.